#SelfCare17: Speak Up

The only thing worse than not being able to think of a perfect comeback in the moment is when you know exactly what you want to say but don’t. With generations of women being taught to be seen and not heard, it’s easy to fall into silence even when you have something valid to say. Part of self-care is recognizing that what’s within you is of value, and that includes your words. It may take practice to get out what you want to say, but don’t let that stop you. Sometimes I have to rehearse so that the words are really mine and I believe them. Your words are important. Don’t let them go unspoken. 

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#SelfCare17: Connect with a Higher Power / Greater Good

Sometimes self-care can feel like self-indulgence. But it doesn’t have to be! Anytime I’m struggling in my practice or questioning why it’s important, I remind myself that I am connected to a higher power and a greater good. When I remember that the causes I’m fighting for are far bigger than me but that I am still an integral part of the fight, I am strengthened. It’s a great reminder that you must take care of yourself so you can be at your best for the collective.

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#BlogHer16 Closing Keynote Recap

It’s not often that we get to have honest, public discussions with a few hundred folks about intersectional feminism and activism. That’s exactly what we did at the closing keynote of the #BlogHer16 conference this past Saturday. I was honored to moderate this inspiring panel conversation about how people in the public eye can use their platform for activism. As well as about how we all can serve to be better allies to the causes that move us.

 

My long-term partners at Dove kicked off the panel sharing about their new campaign #MyBeautyMySay and it’s right on time for the Olympics! The media too often makes comments about female athletes and their appearance rather than focusing on their accomplishments. And have you read these headlines lately?? Now accomplished female athletes are being described by their husbands rather than their own achievements!

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So leave it to our panel of bad asses to break it all down! I was joined by the incredible: Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Matt McGorry, and professional boxer Heather “The Heat” Hardy. As actors and athletes in the public eye they are also fighting for social justice – whether it’s HIV/AIDS awareness, civil rights, racial and gender equality or equal pay. They are all utilizing their privilege and public platforms to speak out.

 

We dug into what makes a good ally – especially to causes where you are not the predominant demographic effected (think: how to be a good white ally for Black Lives Matter) and also how to fight injustice within your own field of business (think: how to challenge sexism and racism amongst your co-workers and bosses). Not easy subjects for sure. But this panel handled it with such clarity, grace, and courage. We could have gone on for hours more. So much work still left to do. But catch up on some of the highlights below.

 

And remember this is a conversation that is just in its beginning stages – we have to continue to work together and have the hard conversations because #ChangeIsAWeThing.

Panel Conversation Highlights:

BlogHer Panel

Too bad I didn’t enjoy myself.

BlogHer Team

The whole BlogHer team!

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How to Cut and Paste your Dreams into Reality

In my recent podcast with the fabulous Damone Roberts, we talked about the power of manifestation.

 

We all have personal and professional goals, plenty of new project ideas, and dreams that seem larger than life. One technique that helps to bring my ideas to fruition is to create a vision board. Vision boards can bring clarity to your intentions by helping you hone in on what you want to create.

 

Everyone’s process is different – here’s what I do to get ready to cut and paste my dreams into reality!

 

  1. Get in the Right Head Space

I usually make a vision board when I’m at a starting point – like around the New Year and on my birthday; it helps me get aligned with a new goal or a way to celebrate a trip around the sun.

 

I try to stay positive when I sit down to create because it is with that frame of mind that I will bring my dreams into focus.

 

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  1. Gather The Materials That You Love!

There are no rules about what you make your vision board with. If you are an artist who likes to paint it out – do it! I am a writer – so I love to cut out words from magazines or doodle my own. My husband loves to make 3-D vision boards by putting pieces of twine, cloth or fabric together to bring his vision to life.

 

 

 

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  1. Let Yourself Enjoy The Journey

Vision boards aren’t always completed works of art. They can be a great exercise to understand a true value you hold or a desire that needs to be surfaced. Don’t judge (“Oh, I couldn’t possibly manifest that!”) Instead – learn from what comes forth while you create.

 

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  1. Place It Where You See it Often!

In the daily hustle of life, it’s important to remind ourselves of our inner visions. Our big dreams and small goals. So put this vision board where you can see it. I put mine in my office (above the computer) or in my closet, (where I see it while I’m getting dressed) this way I am surrounded by the vision I am bringing into form.

 

VisionBoard2 VisionBoard

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Mom 2.0 Photo Recap

 

One of my favorite things about being Dove’s Global Self-Esteem Ambassador is the opportunity to reach different audiences with messages about confidence and the beauty of being you. Last week, I was at the Mom 2.0 Summit, which connects parent bloggers, content creators, and marketers around conversations that help shape how we see and think about today’s families.

 

The summit kicked off with an amazing conversation about the power of our words online with none other than the award-winning journalist (and my eternal #WCW) Soledad O’Brien.

 

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Soledad is such a genuine, open, and captivating person. We went from strangers (although I have to admit, I had a HUGE professional crush on her!) to chatting like old friends, taking selfies, and having her adjust the microphone on my bra strap!

 

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During the keynote address, Soledad and I discussed the power of words, parents’ roles in how their children create and consume social media, and Dove’s recently launched #SpeakBeautiful Effect on Twitter that helps you identify the power of our online words and their impact.

 

With the rise of social media, everyone has the power and platform to share their stories and use their voices. It’s so important that we are intentional about the messages we send out and use those platforms to lift others up, rather than tearing one another down.

 

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Don’t think I won’t frame this!

 

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As if things couldn’t get any better – on day two – I hosted our famous Dove Self-Esteem workshops with the fabulous Hollis Heath, a fellow Dove Self-Esteem Educator who also works in New York City to help young people find their strength through education and creative arts.

 

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Our workshops also focused on the power of our words and how to rewrite our beauty story. We were joined by the amazing women from Mom 2.0, who not only participated in their own workshop, but then came back to mentor girls in another workshop.

 

I’m always moved by how open, brave, and willing participants are, and these women and girls were no exception. Seeing groups of passionate people engage with their journeys of self-discovery, regardless of where they may be on their paths, inspires me time and time again.

 

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We were joined by the Girl Scouts of Orange County who were so incredibly outspoken and creative in their answers about beauty and body image. Clearly these were girls who have been thinking about and talking about how to develop their confidence. Their answers would blow you away!

 

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We had everyone write their beauty story using just one sentence. And the catch? That sentence had to have just 6 words. Think of it as a mini-mini tweet. The girls were supposed to sum up the story they’d like to tell the world about their relationship and understanding to their own beauty and confidence. Here are just a few:

 

L: “Finding out that everyone is different.”

R: “Finding and expressing my inner creativity.”

 

I mean… 🙂

 

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Did a workshop really happen if we don’t take a picture??

Trick to getting a good smile – have everyone yell “1, 2, 3… Self-Esteem!!!”

 

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Mom 2.0 was an uplifting experience reminding me that, as long as we open ourselves up to seeing it, exploring it, and embracing it for what it is, #BeautyIs found in everyone around us.

 

If you want to learn more about the power of YOUR words and what you can do to leave a more positive digital footprint, check out Dove’s #SpeakBeautiful Effect on Twitter. It’s as easy as clicking “retweet” (literally).

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3 Reasons Why Being a Leader is Better Than Being Liked

I know. I know. You want to be a leader. But perhaps you don’t feel like one because you are too busy caring if people like you. And listen, I get it. It’s totally normal.

 

In fact it’s our humanity that compels us to desire closeness and connection with others and want to feel accepted by our family, peers and community.

 

But the truth is that true leaders aren’t always liked. In fact, they often aren’t.

 

The tough and unsung choices leaders make everyday can’t come from pleasing people – they have to come from tapping into their gut, inner strength, wisdom and personal resolve. Leaders do the right thing even when it’s difficult.

 

Here are 3 reasons why being a leader is better than being liked:

 

  1. Because being liked doesn’t always create social change:

There is a lot for us to shift in the world and it won’t get done worrying about winning a popularity contest. When we prioritize being liked over roles in leadership, we let the opportunity slip by to make a palpable difference in our communities and in the lives of the people we care about most.

 

  1. Because the world needs more women leaders:

Women are drastically underrepresented in leadership roles, (and we need to change that – stat!) Women make up roughly 15% of executive officers and about 5% of Fortune 500 CEOs. We all have the power to change that by encouraging women we know to step forward for leadership positions and to be bold enough ourselves to step forward and lead!

 

  1. Because your voice needs to be heard:

Now more than ever we need to cultivate leaders who can share their courageous visions with compassion and connection. Who better than you? If we want to combat some of the vitriol and hate that we see in our world – let’s start by raising our voices. Playing small in the world doesn’t help anyone. You have strengths and incredible power. Don’t let them go to waste! The time to speak up is now.

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Why Creativity Is Essential to My Well Being

Even when we love what we do, we can still feel jaded, weighed down, or in a rut.

When I’m feeling like this — a bit burnt-out that the day-to-day tasks at hand, I know just what I need to do… I need to create something.

 

Creativity helps me to engage with the extraordinary things that lie in the midst of this ordinary day-to-day world.

 

By creating something — anything (a blog post, a journal entry, a vision board, a great chopped salad (no, seriously) I can tap into methods of self-expression that I often put on the backburner when answering emails and returning missed phone calls.

 

When I can generate something completely original, something beautifully and inherently unique to myself, I feel vulnerable and challenged and find that it’s an incredible way to push myself to grow.

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6 Ways To Become Your Own Best Friend

True friendships offer a wonderful reflection of ideal self-care — you have someone by your side that treats you in a way you often don’t treat yourself — with reverence, respect, and the right dose of silly.

 

Wouldn’t it be incredible to show ourselves that same type of love?

 

Is it possible to see ourselves through fresher, kinder eyes and ditch the critical in favor of the compassionate? I think so.

 

Here are six ways to become your own best friend:

 

1. Take time for TLC. When we get busy, we drop off our own to-do lists. We stop taking care of crucial things like rest, nutrition, and soulful exchange. Don’t skimp on the self-love, instead make a date with nurturing yourself like you would schedule a catch up with a friend. It’s that important.

 

2. Feel everything. One of the best parts of friendship is that you have someone who validates everything you feel (yep, even the crazy stuff). So remember to do the same and allow yourself to feel a full range of feelings. Put away the judgment and trust that your emotions are healthy, and even the painful feelings will eventually pass.

 

3. Ask: “Do you need help with anything?” How many times have you said that to a friend?! Check in and ask yourself the same thing and then seek out the people who can help you. One of the bravest acts of self-love we can practice is knowing when to ask for assistance.

 

4. Learn to trust yourself. The trust within friendships is built over time through experience, the same can be said of trusting ourselves. Learn to root for you. Learn to believe that you have what it takes to be loyal, loving, and kind to yourself. Building that self-trust will guide you through decisions and dilemmas with confidence.

 

5. Celebrate victories. We LOVE to celebrate our friends when they have moments of success. So make sure you do the same for yourself! Acknowledging what is worth celebrating in your life is not only healthy my necessary. It builds up a reservoir of good experiences to enjoy. And life is sweeter when we can enjoy those moments with the people we love.

 

6. Continue to Learn About Yourself. All friendships grow stronger as we learn more about the other person. That is the foundational element of real friendship — a growing together through things. While getting to know our friends deeply can highlight some of the not-so-great aspects of them, we choose to appreciate them for all of the brilliant ways they add to our lives, instead of honing in their imperfections. In learning about yourself, focus on celebrating who you are, rather than bemoaning who you aren’t.

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How To Be Confident Without Being Arrogant

One common question I’m asked: How can I be confident without being arrogant?

 

I love this question. I usually tell people it’s OK to know your own strengths (even more OK to own them!) And it doesn’t help anyone when we deflect compliments and play small in the world.

 

But it makes sense that human nature is to feel a desire to be liked. To be loved. To be admired. And we sometimes worry that if we’re too confident that might push someone away.

 

The truth is, true confidence doesn’t have to be bragged about. The real different between confidence and arrogance is all about the intention behind it. Confident people live their lives – confidently. They don’t need to “in your face it” with dropping names, putting others down or overly boasting about anything. Confident people live it because they feel it. They don’t need to prove it.

 

I find bragging (and trust me, I’ve done my fair share) comes from when we feel insecure, uncertain and unworthy. So check your intention next time you think you may be spouting off too much of your own awesomeness. And know that your confidence isn’t just heard but seen, felt, and witnessed. Just by being you.

 

Still not sure if you have confidence or arrogance? Think about:

 

  • Confidence is built on self-discovery. It comes from knowing and accepting yourself and your strengths – and owning those strengths. It takes time and effort to foster and build.
  • Arrogance is a reactionary feeling. In fact, it’s the opposite of confidence – it’s a method to prove yourself rather than accept and love yourself.
  • Being confident is being comfortable with who you are. You don’t have to put anyone else down to feel good. So if you are trying to – odds are you aren’t feeling true confidence.
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    Ending Toxic Friendships

    You may have heard me talk about your “esteem team” before.

     

    I think it’s important to know very specifically who has your back at all times.

     

    The one you ugly cry with.

     

    The ones who see you at your worst and know you at your best.

     

    The one you call to the move the body.

     

    Consider it my new definition of #squad goals – but you really only need one special person on your esteem team.

     

    And I can’t emphasize enough how important it is on your journey to self-discovery. It’s been a crucial component on my own path, too.

     

    So how do you know who’s on your team?

     

    Your “esteem team” are the ones who allow you to grow, and who encourage it, actually.

     

    But we may not always be surrounded by those people.

     

    Especially when we’re younger, it can feel like having a bunch of friends is important. But the truth is – especially when it comes to friendship – quality goes much further than quantity.

     

    Sometimes when we realize we are friends with people who are stumping our growth it’s hard to think about letting them go.

     

    But trust me when I tell you – and you can borrow my 15 years of hard friendship lessons learned – you need to say goodbye to someone who can’t stand fully by your side.

     

    How do you know when you’re in a toxic friendship?

     

    Here are a few questions you can ask yourself:

     

    When you are with this person do you feel more empowered or more discouraged?

     

    Are your thoughts and ideas valued and listened to?

     

    Do you feel comfortable being yourself around this person?

     

    If you can’t be your true, authentic self when you’re with this friend, it may be time to have a conversation about this. I know – it’s scary, but a true friend can handle a moment of discomfort and honesty. It can be awkward but real friendships survive.

     

    What happens if you have that convo and nothing changes?

     

    Maybe it’s time to move on.

     

    So now what?

     

    Ending a toxic friendship doesn’t have to be dramatic. We can start by making a conscious effort to limit the amount of time we spend with that person. We can focus on the friends who ARE positive and gravitate toward them.

     

    But it doesn’t end there. It’s also important to take a look inside yourself in the process, and ask:

     

    Why am I continually choosing friends like this?

     

    How can I prevent this from happening again?

     

    When we want to make a change in our lives, we have to take initiative.

     

    There’s no doubt in my mind that you’re capable of it. We all are.

     

    We have to make sure we’re learning from our experiences. When you go through difficult patches, remember to think about what you can take away from them. How can it help you better yourself? How can it help you get back on track to where you want to be?

     

    It isn’t always easy, but it IS possible and worth it!

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